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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Ta Dah!' (Universal/Motown)
Artist - Scissor Sisters

If you're only familiar with "Take Your Mama" and "Laura" from the Scissor Sisters' first album, some of the tracks on "Ta-Dah" will come as a bit of a surprise. (But buy both anyway.) First, there are the solid ballads - in the vein of "Return to Oz" and "Mary" from their first album, the beautiful "Might Tell You Tonight" and "The Other Side" are placed later in the album, and come as lamenting love songs amidst a wealth of dance-inducing cuts. And the darker, twisted "I Can't Decide," with its bouncy flair (and Jews Harp played by Gina Gershon) is incredibly catchy for a song sung by someone who's trying to decide if they should commit murder or not ("I can't decide/whether you should live or die/Oh, you'll probably go to heaven/Please don't hang your head and cry.") Likewise, Elton John's co-written "Intermission" is equally jaunty and dark ("Happy yesterday to all/We were born to die.") That's not to say you can't dance your a** off to this album - there are plenty of tracks designed to help you do just that. "Ooh" and "Paul McCartney" - perhaps the most hyper fan letter ever written to a Beatle - are both excellent reminders of why this band has the reputation it does. And the sole song sung by the totally fabulous Ana Matronic, "Kiss You Off," sounds like she's channeling Goldfrapp and Blondie at the same time - and with the driving beat and laid-back vocals, it works. Great lyrics too - "Kiss you off my lips/It's standing room only for a piece of my pigment/So excuse me a minute while I supply demand." The lead single "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" is - and will be - ubiquitous, and deservedly so. With Elton John both contributing to the songwriting, and playing piano, and Jake Shears' disco falsetto, it's one of those rare songs that you like the more you hear it. And once you read the lyrics, you'll find there's much more to it than what its name seems to imply. And that's true of much of the Scissor Sisters' music, which is why they're so worth checking out. They create intricate, fun, occasionally sad, beautiful, and poignant music, which is actually layered with meaning - a welcome change in a "mean what I sing" pop world. But then, these folks are no ordinary pop group - they keep getting better, and they mean to stay around for a while. Good thing, too. (And a quick word to the wise - if they happen to come through a town near you, do not hesitate to see them live. They're one of the best, most fun acts to come along in years.)

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